Cardno’s Work Earns ‘Deal Of The Year’ For Armenia’s First Securitized Bond 

 

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Cardno’s work creating Armenia’s first-ever securitized bond was named “Deal of the Year” by the U.S. Agency for International Development. This is the highest recognition for innovation and impact on access to finance by USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA).
 

“This event is important most of all because it will make more funds available for the development of rural areas,” U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills said, “to help farmers expand production and entrepreneurs start businesses in rural villages – and for consumer loans.”

 

In the majority of rural areas outside of Armenia’s capital city, non-bank lenders have a larger market share than banks. But they have limits on funding and growth because they are not licensed to take deposits. By securitizing a small part of their portfolio and through unprecedented collaboration, a small group of non-bank lenders were able to raise funds for new lending and demonstrate that capital markets solutions can work in developing countries.
 

Under USAID’s Finance for Economic Development (FED) Program, Cardno’s team introduced the idea to the credit institutions and assisted in building the portfolio of loans for securitization and in amending a law to make the transaction feasible.

 

“We are proud to have represented USAID in providing technical assistance for this ground-breaking transaction and to see such a positive market response from the hard work our team,” said Tony Sinclair, Cardno director of economic growth. “Not only did it raise funds for new rural lending and make innovative use of DCA’s guarantee, but the supply-side impact will help the new private pension system, which USAID has been supporting for some time.”
 

The landmark transaction raised $5 million in new funding for five non-bank credit institutions and introduced a new asset-backed security to the Armenian market using a mixed portfolio of microbusiness and consumer loans.

 

“The thoughtful and customer-focused approach of Cardno’s management team -- and the dedication, creativity and drive of the entire Cardno team -- turned this difficult, extremely complex and revolutionary project into a success,” said USAID Armenia’s Economic Growth Advisor Haikanush Bagratunyan. “The outcome of [Cardno’s] excellent work is valued and acknowledged at the highest level of USAID Washington and local mission.” 

 

DCA provided a structured guarantee for 50 percent of the bonds’ principal under a risk sharing arrangement with the credit institutions and investors. The bonds also charted new territory in being multi-currency and the first securitization publicly listed on the Armenian stock exchange, operated by NASDAQ OMX.

 

“The first securitized bond issuance in Armenia is also an opportunity to support new financial products in Armenia,” Mills said. “This new type of financial product combines many development initiatives that we have pursued over the years – all focused on making more funds available in the credit system for the development of rural areas.”

 

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About Cardno: Cardno is a professional infrastructure and environmental services company, with specialist expertise in the development and improvement of physical and social infrastructure for communities around the world. Cardno’s team includes leading professionals who plan, design, manage and deliver sustainable projects and community programs. Cardno is an international company, listed on the Australian Securities Exchange [ASX: CDD]. www.cardno.com.